Advanced Television

Hughes admits “losing customers to Starlink”

August 8, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Hughes Network Systems, a sister company of EchoStar and owned by Charlie Ergen, admits that SpaceX’s Starlink broadband service is now its “biggest competitive threat”.

While Hughes says it can supply perfectly adequate services – especially when combined with an upcoming satellite/LTE combination offer to its customers – it now says that its biggest threat is Starlink, because Starlink is directly addressing the latency issue.

Hughes’ promised combination satellite/LTE service ‘Fusion’ will debut in September.

Hughes President Pradman P. Kaul said in an August 4th investor call with analysts. “We’re losing subsscribers, to Starlink. We’ve been trying to come up with solutions that will compete on this latency issue.”

“[HughesNet] Fusion will address the latency issue very well,” Kaul added. “Once we do that, this should reduce the churn from the people who need [improved] latency.”

Kaul says the other major supplier of a dedicated high-volume business satellite service over the North America, Viasat, had been ignored because there was enough business for both. That duopoly is now being damaged and threatened by Starlink.

He admitted that Starlink was the competition which was the most worry to Hughes. It currently has some 1.019 million US consumer customers (as at June 30) down 3.4 percent from the previous March 30 quarter-year. Overall its subs base stood at 1.346 million. Its Latin American subscriber base fell 6.8 percent to 327,000 as at June 30 and compared with its March 30 status.

As to EchoStar itself, it reported “flat” consolidated revenues of $499 million (and net income of $10.05 million) for the quarter to June 30th.

Importantly, its upcoming launch of the giant Jupiter 3/EchoStar 24 satellite will launch in H1 2023.

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